Facebook Criticized for Black Lives Matter Sign Outside California HQ

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By Rohan Smith | 10:00 am, July 15, 2016

In big, bold letters erected outside its California headquarters, Facebook declared Black Lives Matter. One woman says the gesture was “complete bulls**t”.

The Mark Zuckerberg-led social media giant revealed the sign at Menlo Park in the San Francisco Bay area over the weekend.

It followed a dark few days for America, bookended by the horrific police shooting deaths of black men Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St Anthony, Minnesota.

Mourners poured in to the streets of capital cities around America carrying Black Lives Matter signs and pleading for the violence to stop. Pictures and videos were beamed around the world.

#blm #blacklivesmatter #mpk #facebookhq

A photo posted by Ismael Ahmad (@isfiah) on

The video of Mr Castile’s death was streamed live on Facebook after his partner pressed record from the passenger seat while he bled to death in the driver’s seat.

Zuckerberg released a statement declaring the events of the past week “graphic and heartbreaking”.

“Yesterday, a Minnesota woman named Diamond Reynolds went live on Facebook immediately after her fiancé, Philando Castile, had been shot by police in his car. Philando later died from his wounds,” he wrote.

“In the video, Diamond’s four-year-old daughter is watching from the back seat. My heart goes out to the Castile family and all the other families who have experienced this kind of tragedy. My thoughts are also with all members of the Facebook community who are deeply troubled by these events.

“The images we’ve seen this week are graphic and heartbreaking, and they shine a light on the fear that millions of members of our community live with every day. While I hope we never have to see another video like Diamond’s, it reminds us why coming together to build a more open and connected world is so important — and how far we still have to go.”

The message received almost 300,000 likes on Facebook and was coupled by the giant sign at Facebook HQ. But many said Facebook was paying lip service to an issue that required real action.

Wagatwe Wanjuki wrote for Medium that Facebook’s Black Lives Matter sign means nothing.

“As much as I’d like to give Zuckerberg a pat on the back for this move, I can’t. This gesture is complete and utter bullsh*t.

“As a black woman who supports and completely believes in the movement to create a world where black lives matter, I wanted to be overjoyed about this supposedly bold move.

“But I felt indignant instead; the move feels like a cosmetic gesture used to make Facebook and its founder seem anti-racist without having to put any real legwork into affirming the value of black lives.”

The writer says the sign featuring the names of the many black victims of recent shootings — Emmett Till, Oscar Grant, Renisha McBride — is “f***ing cool” but “means absolutely nothing” to her.

“Aside from the signs across the Facebook campuses, the company has continually failed in its everyday operations to assert the value of black lives.”

She said Facebook was “woefully behind” in terms of hiring black employees and as a platform it had failed to stand up for hundreds of thousands who were connecting online.

She said pro-black pages were regularly deleted for violating Facebook’s community standards.

“Normally I would not be this moved to rant about the lip service paid to anti-racism. But Facebook is uniquely equipped to do something meaningful; it has enormous wealth, power, and resources to actually challenge white supremacy and racism that forced black people to have to claim that our lives matter in the first place.

“Facebook. Zuckerberg. Do better. If you truly believe that black lives matter, then do something aside from creating a sign.”

This article was originally published on news.com.au

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